The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: Pacemaker in automotive development

After four years in production and sales of 270,000 units, Mercedes-Benz is now presenting the 2009 S-Class. With an even more dynamic design, even more comfort and pathfinding innovations, this extensively updated new series of the world's most successful luxury saloon is reiterating its claim to be the standard for automotive progress. Technological highlights include the world's first series-production hybrid drive system with a lithium-ion battery in the S 400 HYBRID, which makes this flagship Mercedes-Benz model the world's most economical luxury saloon with a petrol engine. Its fuel consumption of 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres corresponds to carbon dioxide emissions of just 186 grams per kilometre. This makes the new S 400 HYBRID the "CO2 champion in the luxury class"
In addition the engine range includes eight up-to-date petrol and diesel units, which generate the same, high output as in the preceding series but require up to seven percent less fuel. The high safety standard typical of the S-Class is further improved by a unique combination of new camera and radar based driver assistance systems, with innovations such as Speed Limit Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection and Adaptive Highbeam Assist. More agility and driving enjoyment is ensured by Direct-Steer and modified Active Body Control with crosswind stabilisation for the eight and twelve-cylinder models. The new luxury saloon will be in the showrooms of Mercedes-Benz's own-retail outlets and authorised dealerships from June 2009.
With 270,000 units sold since its market launch in autumn 2005, the W 221-series S-Class is the world's most successful luxury saloon. Since 1951, when the Model 220 founded the lineage of the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has sold around 3.3 million units of this model series. Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "The S-Class is the worldwide market leader. Thanks to innovative technology, first-class comfort and trailblazing safety systems, the flagship model from Mercedes-Benz is seen as a pioneer in automotive development."
S 400 HYBRID: the world's most efficient petrol-engined luxury saloon
The 2009 S-Class likewise leads the field in automotive development. Mercedes-Benz is underlining this claim to leadership with the new S 400 HYBRID, the world's first series-production vehicle to be equipped with a hybrid drive system using a lithium-ion battery. This is a pioneering step by Mercedes-Benz on the way to the electrification of the automobile. The combination of a further developed V6 petrol engine and a compact hybrid module also makes the S 400 HYBRID the world's most efficient luxury saloon with a petrol engine. The combined New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) fuel consumption is only 7.9–8.1 litres per 100 kilometres. This results in the world's lowest CO2 emissions in this vehicle class, at just 186 - 189 grams per kilometer.
These figures are accompanied by a truly superior performance potential: the modified 3.5-litre petrol engine develops 205 kW/279 hp, while the electric motor generates 15 kW/20 hp and a starting torque of 160 Nm. The combined output is therefore 220 kW/299 hp, with a combined maximum torque of 385 newton metres.
The Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID is based on the S 350, and features an extensively modified drive train. This encompasses a further development of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, an additional magneto-electric motor, the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission specially configured for the hybrid module, the necessary operating and control electronics, the transformer and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery. The hybrid module also has a convenient ECO start/stop function, which automatically switches the engine off when the vehicle stops - for example at traffic lights.
The lithium-ion battery stores recovered kinetic energy
When the vehicle is braked the electric motor acts as a generator, and is able to recover braking energy by a process of recuperation. Working in finely tuned partnership, the electric motor supplements the braking effect of the combustion engine and the wheel brakes to deliver a smoothly progressive braking action. The recuperated energy is stored in a compact yet highly efficient lithium-ion battery in the engine compartment, and made available when required. This complex system is managed by a high-performance control unit, which is likewise located in the engine compartment.
Major advantages over conventional nickel/metal hydride batteries include a higher energy density and greater electrical efficiency combined with more compact dimensions and a low battery weight. Thanks to space-saving installation in the engine compartment, the boot capacity and generous interior dimensions remain unchanged.
Efficient diesel and petrol engines
In addition to the trailblazing hybrid drive unit of the S 400 HYBRID, the 2009 S‑Class is available with a choice of eight engines: two diesel units and six petrol units with six, eight and twelve cylinders. By means of specific aerodynamic fine-tuning, tyres with a lower rolling resistance and modifications to the steering, fuel pump and 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission, Mercedes-Benz developers have been able to reduce both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to seven percent.
With diesel fuel consumption of up to 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 199-201 grams per kilometre, the S 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY (173 kW/235 hp) likewise boasts outstanding figures for the luxury class. Mercedes-Benz achieves this exemplary efficiency with a tailor-made BlueEFFICIENCY package, which also includes closed underbody panelling and decoupling of the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission at standstill.
The 3.0-litre diesel engine is also used in the S 350 CDI 4MATIC. The second diesel variant is the eight-cylinder S 450 CDI (235 kW/320 hp) with a displace-ment of 4.0 litres. The range of petrol engines comprises the six-cylinder S 350/ S 350 4MATIC (200 kW/272 hp) with a displacement of 3.5 litres and the two eight-cylinder units in the S 450/S 450 4MATIC (250 kW/340 hp; displacement 4.7 litres) and S 500/S 500 4MATIC (285 kW/388 hp; displacement 5.5 litres). The flagship model is still the S 600 with the 380 kW/517 hp twelve-cylinder biturbo unit), which accelerates the luxury saloon to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. The Mercedes-AMGhigh-performance contributions to the range are the S 63 AMG with its 386 kW/525 hp V8 engine (displacement 6.2 litres) and the S 65 AMG with a 459 kW/612 hp twelve-cylinder engine (displacement 6 litres).
The Mercedes-AMGhigh-performance contributions to the range are the S 63 AMG with its 386 kW/525 hp V8 engine (displacement 6.2 litres) and the S 65 AMG with a 450 kW/612 hp twelve-cylinder engine (displacement 6 litres).
Unique combination of driver assistance systems
A combination of ultra-modern assistance and protection systems turns the S‑Class into an "intelligent" partner that can see, feel, respond reflexively and act independently to prevent accidents or mitigate their effects. For the first time Mercedes-Benz also uses cameras in these systems - these are able to look well ahead, monitor the car's surroundings and interpret critical situations. One example is the optional Adaptive Highbeam Assist. This system recognises oncoming vehicles or vehicles ahead with their lights on, and then controls the headlamps to ensure the best possible beam range without dazzling other road users.
As a new feature the Night View Assist Plus with infrared camera is now equipped with a special pedestrian detection function: as soon as the system detects pedestrians on the road ahead, they are highlighted on the display to make them more readily noticeable.
Lane Keeping Assist is another system that "looks ahead" for even safer driving. The camera on the inside of the windscreen is able to recognise clear lane markings by evaluating the contrasting images of the road surface and the markings. If the vehicle leaves its lane unintentionally, the driver is warned by short vibrations of the steering wheel. Unlike conventional systems of this kind, the Mercedes system is able to evaluate the driver's activities as well, and can reliably ascertain whether the car is leaving its lane intentionally or not. There is therefore no warning if the driver e.g. accelerates before overtaking or joining a motorway, brakes heavily or enters a bend.
The images supplied by the windscreen camera are also used by the new, optional Speed Limit Assist, which recognises speed limit signs in passing
and shows the relevant speed limit in the central display (standard for S 600).
Drowsiness detection on the basis of more than 70 parameters
Thanks to an innovative technology the 2009 S-Class has a very sensitive antenna for the attention level of its driver, and can warn him in time when he becomes drowsy. The drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST continuously monitors more than 70 different parameters. Once the evaluation electronics recognise the steering behaviour pattern that typically indicates the onset of drowsiness on the basis of information from the highly sensitive steering angle sensor, a warning signal is sounded and "ATTENTION ASSIST. Break!" appears in the instrument cluster. Attention Assist is standard equipment* in the 2009S-Class.
* not for S 400 HYBRID
"Electronic crumple zone" for maximum occupant protection
Mercedes-Benz has also improved the long and medium-range radar used by Brake Assist (BAS) PLUS and DISTRONIC PLUS proximity cruise control.
Mercedes-Benz also offers another radar based system for the S-Class in the form of the PRE-SAFE® brake. If the driver is distracted and fails to recognise the immediate danger of a rear-end collision, or the warning signal of an assistance system, this system can intervene and brake the vehicle independently. The 2009 S-Class makes use of the latest development stage of this safety system: if the driver fails to react even after automatic, partial braking action, the PRE-SAFE® Brake activates the maximum braking pressure around 0.6 seconds before what is now recognised as an unavoidable accident - an emergency braking action that can significantly mitigate the severity of the impact. The PRE-SAFE® Brake therefore acts as something like an "electronic crumple zone".
New: Active Body Control reduces the effect of a crosswind
The S-Class also meets the highest expectations with respect to driving dynamics and agility. This is in part due to Direct-Steer, with a steering ratio that varies with the steering angle, and modified Active Body Control (ABC) with crosswind stabilisation (optional for the eight-cylinder models with rear-wheel drive, standard for S 600). For this purpose ABC uses the yaw rates and lateral acceleration sensors of the Electronic Stability Program ESP® to vary the wheel load distribution via the ABC spring struts within milliseconds, depending on the direction and intensity of the crosswind. This enables the effects of crosswinds to be largely compensated.
Extra safety at the physical limits, as well as even more agility, is provided by
the Torque Vectoring Brake in the 2009 S-Class – targeted, one-sided braking intervention at the inside rear wheel when cornering. The result is a defined turning moment around the vehicle's vertical axis, which means that the car turns into the bend precisely and without any loss of handling dynamics. This Torque Vectoring Brake function is standard equipment in the 2009 S-Class.
Powerful and self-assured presence
The modified design of the 2009 S-Class reflects the effortless superiority and power of the S-Class Saloon. It is characterised by the more pronounced arrow-shape of the radiator grille, plus a new front bumper with a discreet light-catching contour and a chrome strip below the cooling air intakes. The headlamps have bi‑xenon technology as standard.
An even more dynamic look is ensured by the LED Light package with its striking LED arrays for daytime driving lights, indicators and driving lights (standard for S 400 HYBRID and S 600). They lend an unmistakable day-and-night design to the front end. The rear end is characterised by tail lights in a new design, with horizontal, white light rather than the previous inserts in the vehicle colour. Here too, a total of 52 LEDs arranged in a curved design form an unmistakable light signature.
Mercedes-Benz also makes more use of light as a styling element in the interior. In future customers who specify the optional ambient lighting (standard for S 400 HYBRID and S 600) have a choice between three lighting moods: solar (amber), neutral (white) and polar (ice-blue).
State-of-the-art multimedia technology
In line with its serene character and claim to be a technological trendsetter, the 2009 S-Class also sets standards where onboard infotainment is concerned. As a world first, and on request, Mercedes-Benz will equip its flagship model with the new SPLITVIEW technology for the COMAND control and display system centrally located in the centre console. This innovative display concept allows the driver and front passenger to view different content simultaneously on one and the same screen. While the driver e.g. uses the map-based navigation system, the front passenger can be watching the latest film on DVD.
Mercedes-Benz has also extended the standard control and display system COMAND with additional functions, for example an SD memory card slot. Other new features include a Bluetooth® interface, which wirelessly connects a mobile phone to the standard onboard hands-free system, and a USB interface. These enable customers to export saved data and import them into any other S-Class. It is also possible to transfer navigation data to another vehicle. As an optional extra Mercedes-Benz also offers a media interface – a universal interface in the glove compartment for mobile audio devices like an iPod® and USB stick also with AUX input (standard for S 400 HYBRID and S 600).
The optionally available COMAND APS (standard for S 400 HYBRID and S 600) is additionally equipped with a Europe-wide navigation system whose data are stored on a 40 GB hard disc. This allows particularly fast route calculation. The high level of navigating convenience is also aided by the detailed three-dimensional map display.
Musical entertainment is provided by a radio, a CD/DVDplayer with MP3 function, an equalizer with speed-dependent volume control and the MUSIC REGISTER with a 7.2 GB hard disc which stores around 2500 digital music files in the MP3, AAC or WMA format.
The system recognises music files played on CD, DVD or from the MUSIC REGISTER using its stored Gracenote® database, and shows the title, album and performer in the colour display. The new Music Search function enables S-Class drivers and passengers to search SD memory cards, USB sticks, CDs and DVDs for specific music titles and performers. COMAND APS also includes the latest-generation LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system, which operates the navigation, telephone and audio devices by whole-word commands. This has the advantage that the driver no longer has to spell out his commands. To enter a destination, select a radio station, choose a title from the MUSIC REGISTER or access a contact in the phone directory, he only needs to say what he wants.
Mercedes-Benz has also increased the range of rear seat entertainment functions in the 2009 S-Class. As standard equipment, passengers in the rear now have a remote control unit which enables all the audio and telematics functions of COMAND to be operated, plus access to external devices via the Media Interface. Mercedes-Benz also offers a Rear Seat Entertainment package with two eight-inch displays on the rear surfaces of the front seat head restraints, two wireless headphones and a separate CD/DVD player with connections for external audio and video devices.
The surround sound system with "Logic 7" technology developed by Mercedes-Benz together with the audio specialists Harman Kardon® delivers an outstanding performance with three-dimensional sound as a natural 360-degree musical experience for all passengers.
Interior: carefully selected materials and first-class finishing
The multifunction steering wheel of the S-Class has also been modified by the Mercedes-Benz designers: in future the rim and airbag module are lined wth soft nappa leather as standard. The new, flatter airbag module also lends a sporty touch to the multifunction steering wheel.
When choosing the interior, S-Class customers now have even more scope for their personal preferences. A total of five different types of wood trim provide perfectly coordinated material and colour concepts to suit personal tastes.
To make the decision-making process easier, Mercedes-Benz designers have developed three new interior combinations for the colour scheme: alpaca grey/basalt grey, cashmere beige/savanna beige and chestnut brown/black. Together with an all-black interior for the comfort-oriented business saloon and the well-proven combination of sahara beige/black, this produces a total of five tasteful interior design options. In addition to high-grade fabrics, leather upholstery in three qualities is available as an option.

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    Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID (S-Class model series 221, 2009 to 2013). Photo of the facelifted version taken in 2009.
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    The first luxury saloon with hybrid drive and lithium-ion battery: Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID (221 series) from 2009.
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 600, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 600, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 600, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 600, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 600, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 600, exterior
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 600, exterior